“How will online technologies impact our lives and careers in 2025?”
That’s the question being posed today and tomorrow (June 26/27) at the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium (IMTC) 2025 conference, a global online event attempting to divine technology’s future.
While 2025 may almost sound like science fiction to some, others are already busy setting their sights on the technological horizon and placing their bets.
Will telepresence make it big? What about online collaboration? Social TV? Or advancements in standardization? Those are just some of the topics up for discussion, with executive speakers hailing from a number of top companies including Samsung, Huawei, Comcast, Plantronics, Cisco, Primesense and more.
Not content to wait for the future, EE Times recently put a few questions of its own to IMTC’s president, Anatoli Levine.
There's a problem with the future. It's always at least a day away. "Back to the Future" promised us hoverboards and flying cars by 2012, but we still don't have those. So, what's the point of wondering about something so far away?
A: Let’s start with a couple of banalities. You can’t drive forward by only looking into a rearview mirror. Also, if you want to arrive somewhere, you should be checking your course regularly; otherwise you will never arrive at your destination. Humans are fascinated with the future. We are constantly trying to guess what lies ahead. That keeps us going, reaching out to the impossible. When we try to predict what is coming, we really unleash our imagination, and get our subconscious to work on getting the answers and making the future happen.
Over the past five years, people have constantly predicted "video everywhere” as a future game changer. Internet television has also been a consistent theme. And yet, neither prediction seems to have taken hold as pervasively as people thought. Why do we keep pushing in this direction? Maybe people want other things in their future and we're barking up the wrong tree?
A: There are multitudes of problems which get in a way. To begin with, humans are visual creatures – we love good, vivid, life-like pictures. Achieving life-like quality for video is still a moving target. If, however, you were to remove the ability to talk over the phone and exchange written messages (e-mail, text/SMS, even mail) – we would completely freak out and find ourselves stuck. We can function quite well without video, so video is still not a need-based type of communication.
Two more important factors are cost and complexity. Nobody wants to pay a lot of money for video and we want things to be simple.
Yes, the original phone was probably spooky, but it was easy to use. Video is still working its way into the “easy” category – even though it has made very significant advances thanks to Skype and Facetime.
When we reach ultimate ease of use, very high quality and very low price, video will have a blueprint for success.
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